I wonder how I would fare—on the question “makes good meals,” my son would probably give me an F: Not enough cookies, yogurt, or pizza. For “helps me make my room a special place,” I’d probably get an A, provided every item in his room is stamped with something from a superhero franchise. My toddler can’t talk yet, but I assume he’s happy with the level of food and shelter thus far.
In the Today show segment, some kids gave their parents an F for “understands my mood.” As one child said, “sometimes parents forget what it feels like to be our ages.” Busy, harried parents often don’t pause long enough to try to remember what it feels like to be four or 11 or 15. The report card can be a way to have a quiet conversation with your kids about how they’re feeling, and what their stressors are—which might be totally different from what you think they are. One kid claimed that parents sometimes lose their temper for no reason (what? I can’t believe it) and the report card could go a long way to opening the “mood” conversation on both sides.
And all the kids squirmed when the question “does your parent answer your questions about sex?” One child said “we don’t want to have [that conversation]!” and the parents confirmed that their kids (mostly ages 7-12) didn’t have any questions as of yet. But hey, A+ for even raising the topic!
The idea of a parenting report card is great in that, sure, we should all be having ongoing conversations with our kids about how our families work. Kids should feel like their concerns and issues are being heard. But sometimes the things that will earn you the lowest grades are the most important, because parenting means not always making the popular choice. Plus, asking your child to “grade” you objectively is definitely opening yourself up to lots of requests for more ice cream and Minecraft time.
So, how do you think you’d fare? Get your parenting report card here.